Today I saw in my inbox and email from Eric’s Tips blog, asking for my opinion too, as the post has already 700+ comments! And the topic is highly controversial because it could create a precedent in the Internet affiliate arena, and one that most Internet marketers will not be happy with – if Eric decides to reimburse the money while being not legally liable. Do go to the above mentioned post and read it. This way you’ll know exactly what I am writing about.
In his post Eric describes the situation and asks for the opinion of his readers. More than 90 percent of the 700+ comments are saying that he has no legal liability in this matter – thus, to not put the “guilty shoes on” and refund the guy. That it was this guy’s own mistake to pay the entire amount up front, and without having done any enquiry as to the reliability of the copywriter. After all, Eric was not earning from his recommendation of this copywriter’s service, and he did use his service, and was happy with the results. His – Eric’s endorsement, was a “recommendation made in good faith,” and nothing more than that. It’s everyone’s own responsibility to do their own research before paying for a service – caveat emptor.
Of course, they are correct with their answers regarding legal liability, but Eric’s post is asking not only about the legal liability, but also about the moral, and ethic. And due to it – his credibility, and his reputation. And Eric did take off his blog the recommendation for the copy-writing services of Nicholas Cole. However should he reimburse his reader because the reader took his recommendation and bought the service of Nicolas Cole, that were not good enough for the customers money? The customer feels cheated, and ripped off, and the amount is for $1344. A much larger amount that the one paid by Eric, which was $197.
Most people that are doing business online, be it in the IM arena, or selling other products, and services have been in “the school of hard knocks,” and have been scammed online themselves. And so is yours truly. And due to this, most of us do know how to take and pay for services online. Often copywriters ask for 50% up front, and the other half to be paid after the copy has been finished to the satisfaction of the client. Meaning – I would never pay 100% up front, unless the person is in need of the cash right away, and I have had dealings before with him/her, and know for 99.9% that I will get what I am paying for. Nevertheless I will never do it only because the person has been recommended to me, and no matter by whom.
In Eric’s case I will struggle with the same as he does – credibility, and reputation. And if I am facing the same, than I guess I will offer to complete the copy-writing service where the guy paid for while using my recommendation. Or, I will issue him a refund, if Nicolas Cole does not provide one – which will be the only right thing to do. And of course I will feel terrible to pay such an amount of money, while I have not earned anything out of this deal. However my reputation is worth much, and much more than $1344. Than, I will definitely be very careful whom, and what I am recommending on my sites and blogs, and place the correct legal text on my TOS page to prevent scammers making me liable for similar cases, and trying to get money for free from me.
I would really like to know your stand here, and why. Have a great weekend!